A couple days before my best friend’s wedding, I was casually walking down the street when my phone suddenly rang. I slipped my hand in my purse, got the device out, answered the incoming call and after a quick chat with my brother, I glanced to my left and set eyes on the most amazing window ever. Believe it or not, it was not a boutique that I was beholding, but a Confectioner’s shop that had a scandalously enticing three – level chocolate cake, surrounded by a dozen rainbow – colored cupcakes with sprinkles all over them, on display. The first thought that struck me regarded the short baby blue bridesmaid dress that was hanging in my bedroom and how much effort I had made to be able to wear it, but then my cunning mind assured me that after five salads and three hours at the gym per day for five consecutive weeks, I surely deserved a treat. Even if the number on the scales changed, I could always work out for twenty more minutes the following day, right? At that very moment, my guilt vanished in no time and I stormed inside with a wide grin on my face.
The coauthor of the amazing “The High School Reunion Diet”, David Colbert, MD, believes that “we are at our most creative when we’re trying to justify giving in to a craving.” He couldn’t be more right in this respect, but luckily, psychologists and scientist have found a way to use our creativity and power of persuasion for our own good. As you can see, I’m quite a fan of indulging myself, so I was reluctant that a technique as simple as the one I’m going to present you with could yield such amazing results. Here’s what you have to do:
Usually, we try to convince ourselves that if we don’t eat anything when we feel like it, we are going to eat more later anyway. It might sound logical, but it’s definitely not true, so instead to casually lying to yourself, be strong and tell yourself that by refusing to consume that hamburger you are making a choice, and not a sacrifice. You’ll be amazed to find out of how thinking of situations differently can alter your perception of them. Even though in life we usually want we cannot have, in nutrition, cravings are based on what we consume on a daily basis, so not giving in to a certain yen is going to lead to a decrease in its intensity and eventually, to its disappearance.
To make the whole self convincing process easier, think of the refusal to consume something unhealthy in a more positive way. Next time you feel the urge to eat something rich in calories, don’t reject the thought right away, just hold it off until your get some of your work done or finish a gym session. This way you can indulge, but in your own time and on your own terms. Moreover, an hour or two later, you might even forget about that craving, as a recent study has just demonstrated. Scientists divided the participants into two groups and told one of them to eat chocolate if they wanted to, and the other, to put off consuming it several times. Apparently, the ones who didn’t give in to the fattening treat ended up not needing it at all.
Yet another comforting thing that we tell ourselves every so often is that after a day of misery, we deserve something delicious. It sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? Well, try to forget this habit and from now on, every time you feel down, face up to the truth: what you need is sympathy, not carbohydrates. To avoid emotional eating, speak out loud about what’s upsetting you instead of bolting down candy whenever you feel like the world is on the verge of collapse. Do anything in your power to stay away from the fridge or restaurants. Take a walk or visit your family or a friend. Researchers from Wake Forest University have come to the conclusion that when you are self critical and learn from your experience, rather than focusing on regrets all the time, you are prone to consume less junk food and sweets.
Another cause for indulging more often than we should is being unable to tell the difference between needing and wanting something. For instance, you might feel like your body is in desperate need of pumpkin pie, but in fact, you are experiencing nothing more than a simple craving that you are mistaking for a physical need. There’s no exception, your body works on nutrients, not on sweets.
To differentiate between real needs and yens, whenever you feel hungry, sit down for a minute and analyze what you are feeling. For example, if you could eat just about anything, as long as it helps you get rid of that nagging stomach ache, you are indeed hungry, but if you can’t get your mind off the cookie jar, but you could easily do without an orange, you are dealing with a craving. Fortunately, researchers have found the perfect solution for dealing with the latter case: pop the kettle on and make yourself some jasmine tea, and before sipping it, inhale its wonderful flavor. Another idea would be simply letting your imagination run wild and imagining consuming how much you want of your favorite dish. This way, your brain is more likely to believe that you have already indulged yourself.
All in all, cravings might be hard to resist at first, but I firmly believe that the advice that I’ve just shared with you will of real help in rediscovering yourself and walking the pathway toward beauty, health and peace of mind.